I've been wanting to do a First Aid course and CPR training since my daughter was born 4,5 years ago.
I remember searching on YouTube for videos of how to help a choking baby when she first started eating solids. Of course it's one thing to watch a video, and another to have training on a subject and know how to keep your calm.
I googled back then 'First Aid Course Leiden', but most of the things that came up were either in Dutch or were always sold out.
A few months ago, after my second baby was born I became determined to actually do a course. I directly contacted the organisation, and realised they offer 'home courses' for a group of friends, so I just needed to get a group together.
I knew there are many parents out there who would love to learn more about how to help their children, and potentially save a life in an emergency situation.
I made a post in Leiden Mamas Facebook group and I got 35 responses from moms and dads interested. At the end we did the course with 13 people. If you want to join the group and see if there will be future courses organised you can join here.
I honestly think that this course should be done by every parent, and even be mandatory. I learned so many things that I believe should be common knowledge.
Some people are turned off because the course is 6 hours long, and it costs around €110-150 (depending on how many people are in the group), but honestly I don't think it's a huge and money investment if you can save a life with your knowledge.
I also sent in the invoice to my health insurance afterwards, and they covered it all. (please check with your insurance beforehand as this might depend on their individual policy)
There's also an option to do a 3 hours course, but then it doesn't include CPR training, so I didn't think that one was as interesting.
The organisation also provided a little booklet with all the information you learned, your own first aid kit to practice with, and they pay for the location if you gather a group larger than 10 people.
I really liked our instructor Rene. His teaching was very knowledgeable yet infused with lots of dark humour. Most topics we covered were quite heavy, but through his teaching he made us feel confident on how to react in each situation.
The text below will include things about choking, drowning, injuries and blood, so if these things are triggering for you, it's probably best if you stop reading.
Here are the topics we covered and things we did:
- how to react when you notice an emergency situation
- when to call 112 (911 also works)
- how to know when to start CPR
- how to do CPR + practice
- what to do when a baby/child is choking + practice
- helping a child/ baby when unconscious
- how to do recovery position for child/ baby
- how to use an AED and where to find them
- what to do in case of drowning
- preventing/ treating burns and scalds
- treating wounds (major and minor injuries)
- recognising tick bites, and how to treat them
- hyperthermia with children/ babies
- how to respond to allergic reactions
I also wanted to write down most things that stuck out to me that I had literally no idea about.
- Most of the time children would need CPR if they choked on something and their heart stopped, because they aren't getting oxygen.
- When you're performing a heimlich manoeuvre on a child, it's not air pressure pushing the stuck object out, but you're actually just irritating a muscle which will make them cough
- Children can drown 48 hours after going for a swim, if too much water gets trapped in the lungs
- Always remove your own clothing before going into the water helping someone who's drowning
- Babies may get overheated if they're in a carrier, but mostly when they're on their father. Mothers have a hormone which helps their baby regulate their body temperature by absorbing their heat
- When a wound is heavily bleeding it is better not to disinfect it, but put a tight bandage on it
Gosh this list could just go on and on, but these were some of the most interesting points for me personally. In our closed Facebook group I also asked the other moms what was their biggest takeaway, you can read them below.
during this time we practiced how to help a choking child, and baby. They had two different dummies for this. And we also practiced giving CPR on a dummy, one was a baby and the other one a small child size.
The CPR dummy had a few tiny lights on the shoulder which was indicating if you were doing chest compressions at the right rhythm.
We also all got our own 'lungs' for the CPR dummies for sanitary reasons. When you were blowing air, you could also see the chest lifting, and see if you were blowing hard enough.
This was seriously one of the most helpful things during the course, as Rene, the instructor was constantly providing feedback.
Here are some things other participating moms said:
"I found it so useful, and found the instructor really clear and helpful (and also quite reassuring!). I hadn't really considered all the things that could possibly happen, but now I feel like I would be a lot more calm if I was faced with that sort of situation with a baby or small child!"
"It was so great; I really appreciated the instructor's dark and slightly strange sense of humour as well! ^^ I think the biggest takeaway for me was to "call 112". I sometimes become passive out of fear of overreacting, and think the course has helped me see that it is always okay -if in doubt- to call for aid."
"The practical elements were definitely very helpful (although I’ll still be nervous if I ever have to use them!)
For me the biggest takeaway (and something I didn’t know before) was how to treat burns. I’d always been told to run cold water on them (but only ever experienced small hot water burns on hands), but now I know you apply warm water (pref in the shower) and remove clothing. I was shocked about what the instructor said about leaving the nappy on!! So definitely won’t ever make that mistake if I am ever faced with that situation."
As I mentioned above I did watch YouTube videos on how to do CPR, but to actually practice, and get instant feedback whether I'm doing it right, was so great. Since our instructor has 35 years of teaching experience he could also tell us a lot of real life examples, which I also found very helpful.
Another thing that really stuck out to me, that he constantly reminded us to first take care of ourselves in emergency situations, which I think you would never think about at the moment. But I can still hear him saying: "If you're dead, you won't be helping anyone" which is quite harsh, but also very sobering statement.
Let me know if the comments if you have done a course, or what you found interesting above. Questions are always welcome as well!